June 23, 2014
Guest: Nia-Malika Henderson, Ryan Grimes, Sam Hall, Amy Kremer, David
Boies, Ted Olson
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The Republican war on war.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this predictable situation in Iraq. Didn`t
common sense tell us that the people we dumped from power over there in
2003 would act to get it back the moment we left? It was common sense, and
that`s just what we`re seeing happen. We`ve got to stop saying how
surprised we are by everything in the world. If this guy, Maliki, sticks
with his own crowd in Iraq, that`s not a surprise. It`s common sense.
That the people who we dumped with our invasion of 2003 stick together now
in trying to overthrow Maliki, that`s not a surprise. It`s what you`d
Well, just as being a Democrat was no guarantee you`d had the common sense
to oppose the Iraq war back in 2003, being a Republican is no guarantee you
think the war makes sense today. Rand Paul, one of the strongest
candidates for 2016, is leading an insurgency within the GOP against
another military campaign in Iraq. He`s saying the United States has no
clear-cut interest in getting involved in what`s become an Iraqi civil and
Howard Fineman is editorial director for the Huffington Post Media Group
and David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones." Both are
Well, yesterday on NBC`s "MEET THE PRESS," as I said, Senator Rand Paul
took after former vice president Dick Cheney and his discredited case for
war in Iraq. And on ABC, Cheney hit back. Let`s watch both.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Do you think Dick Cheney`s a
credible are critic of this president?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think the same questions could be asked of
those who supported the Iraq war. You know, were they right in their
predictions? Were there weapons of mass destructions there? That`s what
the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in
2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn`t really, I
think, understand the civil war that would break out.
DICK CHENEY, FM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rand Paul, by my
standards, as I look at his philosophy, is basically an isolationist. That
didn`t work in the 1930s. It sure as heck won`t work in the aftermath of
9/11, when 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters came all the
way from Afghanistan and killed 3,000 of our citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, bringing up Hitler again, every time, these guys. You
know, their Hitler -- the differences between a war we`ve been in and
whether to go back in again --
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Wait one second.
He`s bringing up 9/11, as well. We`re not in Iraq because of 9/11. He`s
back to the same bag of tricks --
CORN: -- conflating the war in Iraq with a response to 9/11. We got
WMDs, a connection with al Qaeda, all that`s disproven. You know, I`m
surprised his people let him go on TV and talk this way. He`s delusional.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re not booking him.
MATTHEWS: Somebody keeps booking him. I`d say he and Wolfowitz and a
couple of these guys get regular bookings. (INAUDIBLE) Howard. First of
all, let`s get to this fundamental question. It seems to me the Republican
Party is now doing something it never did back in 2004, when you had --
any time Ron Paul dared to question this war in Iraq --
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He
was practically booed off the stage.
MATTHEWS: Rudy Giuliani would jump up, you know, like a vampire, go right
FINEMAN: Well, better late than never, I guess. The Republicans are
having a debate within their party that they didn`t dare have in the early
parts of the last decade.
Dick Cheney didn`t answer the questions there, that were implicit in Rand
Paul`s critique. Rand Paul wasn`t calling names. He wasn`t shouting about
World War II. He wasn`t shouting about 9/11. He very practically said,
Did we understand that there`d be a civil war there? Are we safer than we
were? Did the war really end in 2005? He was asking very logical,
straight-ahead questions that any sensible person in either party or no
party would ask.
And Dick Cheney comes back with the name calling, comes back with, You`re
an isolationist, and it`s just like Hitler in the `30s --
FINEMAN: -- like 9/11.
FINEMAN: And that`s not -- that worked. What Dick Cheney doesn`t
understand, I don`t think, but a lot of Republicans, including Rand Paul,
do understand is that that kind of name calling, an easy route to political
superiority that the Bush/Cheney administration used a decade ago, won`t
work now, and it won`t work even in Republican primaries. It`s not going
to work in the Republican primaries --
MATTHEWS: Let me try something. It wasn`t just the ideologues, the
freedom agenda people, the whole Bush crowd, the neocons and the Cheney
crowd that got us in the war. It was the people who went along with them
in the Republican Party. And the business -- and the Democrats. It was
business Republicans, regular Republicans who just want lower taxes and
less government. They all went along with that war. Why`d they go along
CORN: Well, remember --
MATTHEWS: Because maybe Republicans do troop along. They`re more regular
than Democrats. They like to follow the leader. But you tell me --
MATTHEWS: -- not happy now. I think Howard said it. That mentality of
just follow the guys like Dick Cheney is over.
CORN: And we remember what it was like a year, two years after 9/11. They
got that war because they played on fear, you know, the smoking cloud being
a mushroom cloud -- the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud and all that.
It was fear-driven to get the public on their side. Having, you know,
gotten one success at this -- you get maybe one bite at this apple and
creating a disaster, now the public at large is skeptical. And
Republicans, you know, even whether they believe it or because of politics,
see that --
CORN: -- won`t go for this again.
MATTHEWS: OK, why doesn`t Cheney -- maybe it`s not in his brain soup, if
you will. But why doesn`t he just say -- he`s on these big television
shows on Sunday. Why doesn`t he just say, You know what? I think we`ve
got interests about Israel. There we have interests about oil. There`s a
lot of reasons -- we don`t want a feeding ground or a training ground for
terrorists. Give the specifics. These are reasonable arguments. I don`t
agree with them all put together, but instead of just saying, No, anybody
who dares disagree with me is basically an appeaser.
FINEMAN: Well, Chris, gain, what he doesn`t understand is that that kind
of debate is going to happen this time around. As David said, they used
the fear card very successfully a decade ago. Now if we`re to continue
with this, if we are going to argue that ISIS is a real threat, and so on
and so forth, people are going to want to hear the real reasons. What are
the reasons here?
And also, the nature of the Republican Party has changed, as you were
pointing out. It`s just more of a grass roots primary-oriented party and
less of a salute, who`s next in line, kind of thing.
By the way, there is nobody next in line in the Republican Party --
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.
FINEMAN: -- which is what gives Rand Paul and people like him a chance
to really have an impact this time around.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this interesting conversation (INAUDIBLE)
yesterday. Senator Paul gave a personal answer to David Gregory`s question
on "MEET THE PRESS" about the U.S. role in Iraq. This is one of those
great back-and-forths. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY: Do you see a clear-cut American interest in Iraq?
PAUL: I look at it on a personal basis. I ask, Do I want to send one of
my sons or your son to fight to regain Mosul? And I think, Well, yes,
these are nasty terrorists, shouldn`t we want to kill them? But I think
who should want to stop them more? Maybe the people who live there.
Should not the Shi`ites, the Maliki government -- should they not stand
up? And if they`re ripping their uniforms off and fleeing -- if they
don`t think Mosul is worth saving, how am I going to convince my son or
your son to die for Mosul? I know they`re bad terrorists, and yes, we
should prevent them from exporting terror, but I`m not so sure where the
clear-cut American interest is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Pretty sound response. Good question, too.
CORN: Good question, good answer. It`s a populist response. It`s at the
local level. It`s not about, you know, these grand ideas about remaking
the Middle East and these very theoretical abstractions that the neocons
and others pushed for years. It`s, like, Do you want your son, you know,
to die for this?
We lost 4,500 American men and women, over 100,000, maybe over 200,000 dead
Iraqis. There`s a real exhaustion. We`ve seen the cost for this exercise
to go in, led by people who would say there`s no reason to worry about --
MATTHEWS: Funny that Dick Cheney never asked this question about himself.
CORN: No, he never --
MATTHEWS: Maybe during the Vietnam war, which he supported. He had five
CORN: I think there`s a basic divide here between people who see war and
foreign policy as, like, a giant chessboard to move around the pieces, and
I usually don`t agree with Rand Paul, but those who see it in human costs
and advantages. And that`s what we`re seeing here. Dick Cheney will never
talk about what you paid to get what you got in Iraq.
MATTHEWS: He never really talked about the people in hospitals right now,
FINEMAN: But it`s not a question of exhaustion. This isn`t really about
-- to me, it`s not about the American people`s disgust with 10 years of
war there. The question now is, what rationale is there for what we want
to do? I think the American people would be willing to accept some level
of involvement in an international context if it were honestly explained to
them what the heck is at stake here.
Now, when the president himself says we`re not going to play whac-a-mole in
the region, frankly, that isn`t that helpful, either.
FINEMAN: What are we about here? Are let`s have a real discussion of it.
We never really had it in a broad-based way a decade ago. If we`re --
now is the time. Now is the time, if we`re going to do anything long range
in that region. And Cheney wants to short-circuit that debate. And I
think Rand Paul, to his credit, wants to have it to be a centerpiece of his
own candidacy --
MATTHEWS: -- I went home this weekend, thinking the whole weekend what
would I do, if I could call the shots. It`s a tough one.
CORN: Well --
MATTHEWS: First of all, Maliki knows what he`s doing. He`s getting in bed
with the Shia --
MATTHEWS: -- and with Iran. He knows --
MATTHEWS: And the Sunnis tend to be going over with this ISIS group
because -- - but they`re basically acting in a sectarian fashion.
They`re going to their people.
CORN: People are following their own interests --
MATTHEWS: We don`t have any interest in that fight.
CORN: -- and we keep talking about pressuring Maliki to get him to be
more inclusive, while there are Shia clerics sending tens of thousands of
volunteers to the front. And he`s taken no steps. I mean, what leverage
we have when he can turn to Iran is sort of --
CORN: But to get to your point that you made a second ago, it`s not just
what the -- or what Howard said -- what the American public would be
willing to do. You have to be able to show them that there is something
that can be done that has a connection to a possible positive outcome.
FINEMAN: And by the way, this is -- this is -- whether he likes it or
not, even though it wasn`t his war to begin with, for better or worse, the
president has to explain this. He has to ignore the -- he has to ignore
that noise from Cheney and speak directly to the American people, if there
is some interest we need to pursue here. He`s got to --
MATTHEWS: Or explain why there isn`t.
FINEMAN: Or explain why there isn`t.
MATTHEWS: -- used to do in the `60s, stand in front of a map and point
to the map and say, Here`s what`s going on over there. That would be a
start. My question is this -- is this question of, if we get over there
as advisers, which we got 300 guys now over there now, and the Shia militia
start massacring people, it`ll be like Sabra and Shatilla again. We`ll be
FINEMAN: When I hear the term "advisers" -- you and I are old enough to
MATTHEWS: You`re there!
FINEMAN: -- advisers a generation ago.
MATTHEWS: Are they in the field and they`re fighting, advisers? Or are
they staying back at the barracks?
CORN: They`re not supposed to be. We`ll see what happens --
CORN: Now, there is a -- there is a possibility --
MATTHEWS: How do you advise if you don`t go into the fighting?
CORN: Listen, unlike, I think, Johnson or even Kennedy, I think Obama,
having had the lesson of Vietnam, doesn`t want us to get involved in the
actual shooting there because we`ll end up shooting Sunnis who aren`t part
MATTHEWS: Of course!
CORN: And so it`s all going to --
MATTHEWS: And then all the Sunnis will hate us now.
Thank you, Howard. This has been a rambunctious discussion because I think
we`re all very much upset about the situation we`re in right now. Thank
you, Howard. And thank you, David.
Coming up -- and the Republican Party`s finally in this debate. By the
way, the question of Hillary Clinton`s awareness when it comes to talking
about her wealth, anybody`s wealth -- first it was the phrase "dead
broke" she used. Now there`s her statement that she`s not truly well off,
like some people. This is going to be an opening for some of her rivals.
They`re going to be very careful about this. I think some of the concern
is real. Some isn`t.
Plus, Mississippi churning. Two weeks ago, the Tea Party looked dead for
the year. Dead! Then came Eric Cantor`s defeat. And now the Tea Party
looks ready for another big one tomorrow, taking down six-term senator Thad
Cochran. They win there, then they`re going for more wins in Tennessee and
And how same-sex marriage, by the way -- tonight, this is a big one --
moved from the fringes of respectability to the mainstream with the help of
the legal odd couple, and they`re coming here, David Boies and Todd Olson.
What heroes they are. They`re going to be right here. What an honor.
And what do yogurt and yoga have in common? Well, who knows, but a
misheard question the other day about yoga did turn into a lecture on the
benefits of yogurt.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: New poll numbers on the 2016 presidential race and the key
battleground state of Iowa. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
According to a new Quinnipiac polls, Hillary Clinton leads Kentucky senator
Rand Paul by 6 points in Iowa, Clinton 46, Paul just 40. Clinton also
leads U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan by 6, 47 to 42.
Clinton`s lead over Mike Huckabee, 7 points, Clinton 46, Huckabee 39.
Against Chris Christie, Clinton`s lead grown to 8, Clinton 44, Christie 36.
And look at this against Jeb Bush, supposedly the safe establishment pick.
It`s Clinton by 13, Clinton 49, Bush down at 36. And he`s the favorite?
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Hillary, we might have a problem.
When she launched her book tour media blitz in an interview with ABC`s
Diane Sawyer, Hillary Clinton came under fire by members of both parties
for making these remarks about her finances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: We came out of the White House
not only dead broke but in debt. We had no money when we got there. And
we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for
houses, for Chelsea`s education. You know, it was not easy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, in an interview with the British "Guardian"
newspaper, she was asked point-blank if her personal wealth could be a
liability in 2016, considering income inequality will likely be a top issue
for Democrats in the race.
Well, this was her response. Quote, "People don`t see me as part of the
problem because we -- Bill and I -- pay ordinary income tax, unlike a
lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names. And we`ve done it
through dint of hard work."
Well, it`s comments like those that have set off alarm bells for some
Democrats that Clinton could have a serious problem when it comes to
connecting with the average voter out there in 2016. Well, the front page
of today`s "Washington Post" really spelled it out plainly. Some Democrats
have begun to panic. Quote, "They fear that Clinton`s personal wealth and
rarefied, cloistered lifestyle could jeopardize the Democratic Party`s
historic edge with the middle class that powered Obama`s wins."
And Dick Harpootlian, who`s the former South Carolina Democratic Party
chairman, told the newspaper, quote, "She`s generating an imperial image."
And no less than three advisers to President Obama anonymously expressed
their concerns. Here`s one. "She seems completely out of touch and
elitist," said one adviser. Another, "Most people can`t fix their problems
by giving $200,000 speeches. That is a vulnerability." That`s another
view. And here`s still a third. "It`s going to be a massive issue for
her," said a third Obama adviser. Asked what Democrats should do, the
adviser said, "Panic."
Ryan Grimm is Washington bureau chief for the HuffingtonPost and Nia-Malika
Henderson is the national political reporter with "The Washington Post."
Nia, I was looking at "The New York Times -- I mean, "The Washington
Post," your paper this morning. I picked it up. I couldn`t believe this
headline about some Democrats worry that Clinton`s wealth and imperial
whatever image could be a problem for 2016. That`s a strong statement to
put on the front page of the newspaper. What do you make of it?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "WASHINGTON POST": It is. And it`s very timely
because here we have had Hillary Clinton over these past couple of days
rolling out her book tour, making -- now this is the second major gaffe
around wealth. She just hasn`t really figured out -- even after several
tries, hasn`t figured out a way to talk about her wealth.
And we know that Democrats are in a position, and even Republicans, too,
where populism is all the rage. There is a lot of concern and talk on the
progressive side about income equality. So it`s reasonable, I think, to
put this question to Hillary Clinton and figure out if her wealth is going
to be a problem for the Democratic Party.
Now, if we flash back to 2004, you remember, John Kerry, he also had
something of a problem with his wealth. He was worth something like, what,
$200 million because his wife was very wealthy. And you saw from
Republicans` their attempts to paint him as French, as a windsurfing flip-
And you see them early on trying to the cast Hillary Clinton in a similar
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, this -- Ryan, this is what we do in politics. You
always try to make the other side kind of the lah-dee-dah.
This was done against George Sr. Everybody loves George Sr. now, George
Bush Sr. He was -- remember, he said, do you want some coffee? He said,
I will have just a splash. And people ridiculed him for that. It was so
MATTHEWS: And he also went to that supermarket. He didn`t know what a
modern-day scanner looked like. He ordered some sweat socks. Everything
was turned into another example of how he was "The Late George Apley" or
somebody, some Yankee who didn`t know what life was like.
So, this isn`t just Hillary. But it is awful early to be nailing her this
quickly. My thoughts, but what are yours?
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Right.
And once this narrative is set -- and once it was set with Bush Sr., the
press kept going for it. So, she runs the risk of the press keep coming
back to her over and over again on this. And she should probably just stay
away from personal narrative here and just stick to inequality policy
issues, because it just doesn`t work for her.
OK, so she pays ordinary taxes. She`s also moved a lot of her wealth into
these complex trusts, so her daughter, who makes $600,000 a year to be a
journalist, won`t have to pay estate taxes. You don`t have want to open
I think she is probably better off just saying, yes, we have been fortunate
later in our life, but we grew up middle-class. Bill Clinton was less than
middle-class. And we`re going to fight for these certain policies, rather
than trying to say, it was tough to cobble together mortgages, plural.
MATTHEWS: I have seen people deal with this. Jay Rockefeller, Nia, came
to one of those dinners -- it used to be the Women`s Press Club, because
the Washington Press Club dinners, where they always have some new guy
there or new woman there.
And he said, don`t feel bad if it cost you $75 to come to this dinner
tonight. It cost me $12 million, because that`s what he spent in his first
campaign for Senate. And Kennedy once said about his father -- having a
phony letter from his father, saying, don`t spend any more money than you
have to in this race. I`m not paying for a landslide.
There have been ways that politicians have shucked off this charge of being
well-off, of Little Lord Fauntleroys. Is it possible for Hillary Clinton
to do that, or is she too middle-class to know that old money trick, which
is probably an old money trick?
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes.
And saw I think Bill Clinton did it too in his -- I think it was his 2004
speech, where he talked about, well, when he was in office, Republicans
didn`t like him much. But when he was out of office and was able to make
all this money, they all of a sudden liked him a lot and gave him all these
tax breaks that middle-class folks actually had to foot the bill for.
That was one way that Bill Clinton was able to that. But of course he
didn`t have to run for president with the kind of riches that Hillary
Clinton will have to run with and explain. But, again, I think you saw in
some ways -- Obama, they tried to do this with Obama when he talked about
the fact that he liked arugula or something.
There are always these attempts to sort of paint Democrats as elitists or
out of touch.
HENDERSON: I think Ryan is right. She has got to focus probably on
policies, not talk so much about her own wealth, not try to make it OK, not
try to make it seem like she is anything but an extremely wealthy woman.
MATTHEWS: You know, the funny thing is -- I wonder, Ryan -- and I want
to get back to Nia on this. But this is basic to our democracy. Why do
people want to be fooled? If they notice that a person is better off than
they are and they are making $200,000 a speech, and they obviously are
accumulating some wealth and they have these fabulous degrees like Yale Law
behind them and they are able to make this money and be very smart, elected
to the Senate from New York, become secretary of state, this amazing
success in life, why do they go -- why do the people expect them to act
like that didn`t happen?
She really didn`t -- don`t act like you went to Yale Law School. Don`t
act like you`re a Rhodes Scholar. Don`t like act you were a senator.
Don`t like act you were secretary of state. Pretend you`re like us.
And you know then it`s a fraud. But why do people want to be victims of
fraud? Why do they want them to be like Prince Charles over with New
Guineans dancing with them in their native gowns? Why don`t politicians to
be frauds? Why don`t we accept them as they are and stop making them like
MATTHEWS: Because I don`t know the answer why we want them to be frauds to
MATTHEWS: If she`s a little elitist, let her be a little elitist.
MATTHEWS: You know?
GRIM: Yes, I actually don`t think people do want that. I think people
would be fine if they said -- with the Jay Rockefeller line. I think
people are fine. People understand that there is a lot of inequality out
GRIM: They understand that the Clintons have done very well in their life
and now live very comfortably.
I think what they want is for just an honest admission of that fact. Hey,
you got yours, great. And now she`s out there fighting for everybody else.
I think that`s all they want to hear. They don`t want -- they don`t need
you to be carrying a lunch pail to work if you don`t have to.
MATTHEWS: I think that`s pretty -- you agree with that, Nia? I think
HENDERSON: Yes. I think that`s right. Yes. I think that`s right.
And I do think for voters there is something aspirational about voting.
Right? And when people want to pick presidents, there is that common
theory that, oh, you can be governed by 200 names in the phone book. But
really it`s usually the Harvard or Yale graduate who rises to the top and
people vote for.
HENDERSON: But you see it every turn on these presidential campaigns.
They want to go hang out at the bowling alley or they want to talk about
their hard knocks life. And you saw Biden do that today in some ways at
that Working Families Summit.
MATTHEWS: Oh, he did.
HENDERSON: He talked about his own wealth and did it in sort of a way
that`s probably a bit more effective than Hillary Clinton saying that he
didn`t have a savings account. He doesn`t have stocks or bonds. I think
he actually does have a savings account.
MATTHEWS: Well, watch this now, now that you have teased it up here.
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Earlier today at the White House geared toward the working
class, Vice President Joe Biden appeared to criticize, you could say by
implication, Hillary Clinton by playing up the fact that he was close to
zero -- he has close to zero connection to Wall Street. He says he
doesn`t even have a savings account, a savings account, a passbook savings
Here he is, average Joe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, the first thing
they`re going to say is, look at Biden, man. He has got a mildly expensive
BIDEN: He`s vice president of the United States of America. He makes --
notwithstanding he`s listed as the poorest man in Congress, he still makes
a lot of money as vice president of the United States. And I do, by the
way. I do.
BIDEN: Don`t hold it against me that I don`t own -- the I don`t own a
single stock or bond. Don`t hold it I have no savings account, but I have
a great pension and I got a good salary.
BIDEN: And -- for real. For real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What he`s actually saying is the 200 a year he makes or so is
what Hillary makes in an hour.
MATTHEWS: He`s obviously working against her type.
Anyway, thank you. It`s interesting to watch the shadowboxing. Ryan Grim,
thanks for joining us, Nia-Malika Henderson, as always.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, what happens next when a politician is asked about yoga
and goes off on the benefits of yogurt? They are different.
And this is HARDBALL, and HARDBALL is different, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL and time now for the "Sideshow."
First up, former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh was having some broadcast
issues last week. He was kicked off his own radio show for using racial
slurs. It all began when Walsh was discussing the controversy surrounding
the Washington Redskins and began testing what derogatory terms he could
get away with on the air. Well, his show cut to commercial.
But that didn`t stop the Republican. He then began a Twitter rant saying:
"The station keeps cutting me off. I don`t know why."
Then: "Just got kicked off the air until further notice. Tried to have
honest discussion about racist terms and management censored my language."
Radio station AM-560 responded by saying -- quote -- "During the
segment, Joe intended to incite or cite several common racial slurs as
examples. AM-560 has a policy of not using certain words on the air that
are highly inflammatory and offensive.:
Next up: Former D.C., mayor Marion Barry, who was here on Friday, joined
us on the show there, he talked about his new book, "Mayor For Life,"
afterward. He was out promoting the book at an event when a misheard
question took a weird turn. A journalist asked Mayor Barry about the tax
under consideration in D.C. on yoga studios.
He responded by saying: "Yogurt is more healthy than a lot of things, as is
cottage cheese. The best kind of yogurt is organic without all those
fillers and stuff."
Well, the question was about yoga, not yogurt. But in Marion Barry`s
defense, The Huffington Post said it was very noisy at that event.
As I said on Friday, Barry`s book -- "Mayor for Life" is the name of it
-- is a great read if you want a raw look at racial politics here in the
And, finally, politicians were out having some fun this weekend. Mayor
Bill de Blasio of New York and his family participated in the annual
Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. His office tweeted out this picture of
him, his wife and his two children in their under the sea garb.
Anyway, Vice President Joe Biden hosted his annual media picnic at his
official residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory on Saturday. Here you can
see him planning a water gun attack, with his grandchildren along for the
fun. A reporter for the Associated Press tweeted out this picture of Biden
armed with a water gun. The caption read, "The vice president of the
United States just shot me with a super soaker."
Well, maybe we need background checks for these things.
Anyway, up next, the Tea Party may be on the verge of another huge victory
tomorrow night in Mississippi. And there could be more coming. And that`s
all ahead tonight.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
President Obama spoke earlier at the first ever Working Families Summit at
the White House. He said 20th century families deserve 20th century
workplaces with paid parental lead.
In Lebanon, a car bombing near a checkpoint south of Beirut left several
people wounded. It is the second explosion there in less than a week.
And international authorities say the last of Syria`s declared chemical
weapons have been removed.~ Syria`s stockpile once totaled more than 1,000
tons -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
A few weeks ago, the Tea Party`s obituary was being written, as the
Republican establishment was on a roll, besting Tea Party challengers all
over the country.
But then you two things happened. First, Tea Partier Chris McDaniel forced
six-term Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran into a runoff. And
then conservative radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin helped Tea
Party challenger David Brat to a stunning win over Majority Leader Eric
Cantor up in Virginia. Now the Tea Party has got the momentum.
They`re taking the fight against the establishment back down there in
Mississippi, where they hope Chris McDaniel can beat the 76-year-old
Cochran in tomorrow`s primary runoff.
In a new poll out today from Chism Strategies shows McDaniel heading into
tomorrow`s runoff election with a healthy eight-point lead over Cochran,
"The Washington Post" writes -- quote -- "While Cochran stumps on his
years of bringing federal spending back to Mississippi, the McDaniel
campaign has tapped into a feeling that the country is slipping away. His
bet, more voters will turn out for a revolution than highway spending."
Sam Hall is assistant managing editor of "The Clarion-Ledger" of Jackson,
Mississippi. And Amy Klemer -- or Kremer is a Tea Party activist.
Thank you both. Speak your minds.
Sam, what`s the feeling among Tea Party people that most animates them
SAM HALL, "THE CLARION-LEDGER": I think there is genuine anger right now
at what they perceive as some of the dirty tactics the Cochran campaign is
doing, mainly reaching out to Democratic voters.
They feel like they are inviting Democrats into a Republican primary and
that it is not a -- wouldn`t be an accurate reflection of who should be
the party nominee.
And I think that`s what`s really driving them right now. They have --
they found energy. And every controversy that should have hurt McDaniel, I
think has actually helped him, going back to the nursing home thing and
then the three McDaniel folks that were locked in the courthouse. So, they
are thriving over these controversies.
MATTHEWS: Amy, does it bother you that Thad Cochran is going out after the
AMY KREMER, CHAIR, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: No. I mean, it`s a sign of
But, look, you have a senator that`s been in Washington for 42 years. And
it`s time for him to leave. The fact of the matter is that if the Tea
Party movement weren`t right on these issues and didn`t have the strength
that we have, the people, boots on the ground, you wouldn`t even have this
So, the fact that we are even here speaks to the strength of the movement.
And, Chris, it`s bigger than just Mississippi. It`s this anti-incumbent
mentality across the nation where --
MATTHEWS: I agree. What did you think -- what did you think when you
heard that Eric Cantor had been knocked off by about 10 points, I mean, a
big upset? He wasn`t just knocked out of the office. He was slam-banged
out of the office. What did you think of that, when that happened?
KREMER: Well, I was shocked at first.
I mean, I wasn`t expecting it, just like everyone else. But, again, it
shows that the people are fed up. When -- that`s part of the problem on
both sides of the aisle, is that these politicians go to Washington, and
they forget why they went to Washington and who they represent.
They become disconnected, and become more caught up with the power and
control and staying on that D.C. cocktail circuit than actually
representing the people that sent them there. And so I -- you know, the
fact that Eric Cantor lost that ~seat, I think that that had a big part of
I mean, there are other issues that come into play there. But I was
shocked, just as everyone else.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Sam.
In covering this, is this -- the people of Mississippi, when they vote in
that primary and runoff tomorrow, are they aware they are part of what
looks to be rolling thunder, starting with Eric Cantor and now going into
this and perhaps going on to Kansas and to Tennessee and perhaps knocking
off Roberts or knocking off Lamar Alexander? Do they know they are part of
a national thing that Amy just mentioned?
SAM HALL, THE CLARION-LEDGER: Oh, yes, absolutely. I think especially on
the Tea Party side. You know, in this three-week run-off period, Cochran`s
campaign and his supporters doubled down. Their efforts are night and day
compared to what they were doing during the primary. There`s a fight on
one side with the Tea Party and McDaniel supporters who are part of the
movement. They are excited and they`re genuinely grassroots energized.
On the other side, it`s a lot of the establishment but it`s also a lot of
the elected officials on both sides of the aisle who are desperately trying
to hold onto seniority in Congress. Mississippi has enjoyed a long history
of having senior congressmen or senators in powerful positions. And
Cochran represents the last of that. If he was to be voted out,
Mississippi would find itself for the first time in a very long time
without any kind of real seniority in Washington.
MATTHEWS: Well, Amy, I`m not big on Congress, you`re going to hear me
later in the show, because I think they should vote on a war and not let
the president decide everything. But let me ask you this, when you get rid
of these guys in there now and he`s 76 years old and you bring in the
younger guys, how are they going to be any different? And how are you
going to make them be any different? I mean, big spending is a problem in
this government. Deficit spending, debt, it`s there.
What do you want to get them to cut? What`s he going to cut, get rid of?
What do you want him to do as a sort of standard of whether to keep the job
or not now that you got it?
AMY KREMER, TEA PARTY ACTIVIST: Well, that`s a big part of this. We have
to hold them accountable. Why we are in this situation is because for
years we have been electing people and sending them to Washington with
So, now, once we elect them we have to hold them accountable. If they
don`t do exactly what they promised to do when they went there, then they
need to be voted out and come home as well. And everything needs to be on
the board. We need to re-evaluate all of these big departments with these
huge budgets. I mean --
MATTHEWS: What would you get like -- we run deficits every year. I`m
with you on this. What would you get rid of? A big thing that government
does right now, what would you get -- name something really because if
you want to cut down this deficit down to balanced budget you have to get
rid of something big the government does now. As a Tea Partier and a
spokesman for them, what are you willing to get rid of that the government
shouldn`t do more of? Name it.
KREMER: I don`t speak for everyone in the Tea Party. I`m representing my
Look, I think we need to look at the Defense Department. I think we need
to look at the Department of Education. That`s one of the most bloated
departments in the federal government. And when you have a Department of
Education that does not have one schoolhouse, one principal, one student
and they are taking in all of these billions of dollars, that money needs
to go back to the states where it belongs and let the teachers and the
parents determine what`s best for students, because what`s best for kids in
Georgia is not going to be the same thing in Alaska or Hawaii.
So, that is one of the departments that we --
MATTHEWS: OK. Most of the money that goes into defense -- most of the
money that goes into defense goes into forces. That`s paying salaries,
incentives, dealing with people`s health challenges, you know, being
wounded in action. Are you going to reduce the force level of the United
KREMER: No, I want to say --
MATTHEWS: That`s how you save money. Everything else is just talk.
KREMER: Chris, that`s not true. I want to say we need to take better care
of our troops and our veterans. They need to be number one.
MATTHEWS: Well, how will you do it with less money?
KREMER: But these contractors -- these contractors -- I mean, look at
some of these -- you have projects being paid for twice. You know, it is
all part of who you know and who gets the contracts and whatnot.
MATTHEWS: All right.
KREMER: So, we need to look at all of that across the board and --
MATTHEWS: You know what, I know how you get around the arguments but the
bottom line is the federal government has to stop doing stuff it`s doing if
it`s going to get smaller. It`s like anything else. You don`t get around
it by trimming the edges and stuff. You`re talking about force levels.
You go look it up in the federal budget.
KREMER: It`s not going to be easy. It`s not going to be easy, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Amy, I`m rooting for anybody who gets involved in American
politics is on my side. But I`ll tell you -- go look at the federal
budget and see where the money is really going. And then you`ll know more.
Thank you, Sam Hall. And thank you, Amy Kremer.
KREMER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the legal, odd couple that`s made same-sex marriage
mainstream in this country.
HARDBALL back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Together, Washington power lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson won a crucial
case in the fight for marriage equality, teaming up to overturn Prop 8, a
California ballot measure in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage in that state.
Boise and Olson were unlikely allies. Fourteen years ago, they were on
opposite sides of the most politicized Supreme Court case in recent
American history -- Bush V. Gore. Boies is a Democrat represented Al
Gore, and Olson, a Republican, represented the victorious George W. Bush.
But in 2009, the former adversaries found a common cause in the fight for
marriage equality. And as we`ve seen, it`s a cause that`s made great
progress over the last 10 years in the United States. Today, a total of 19
states allow same-sex marriage. In 23 states, bans on same-sex marriage
are being challenged. And eight states have had their bans on same-sex
marriage ruled unconstitutional. Four are on hold pending appeal.
Now, David Boies and Ted Olson have teamed up once again to tell the story
of their landmark victory in a new book, "Redeeming the Dream: The Case for
Marriage Equality", and also in a documentary film which on tonight on HBO,
"The Case Against 8", which debuts as I said tonight.
Here is a clip from the doc.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BOIES, ATTORNEY: When we announced the case, one of the people at
the press conference stood up and said, how can we trust what you`re doing
if you`re doing it with Ted Olson?
TED OLSON, ATTORNEY: There was reaction among conservatives that I was
somehow a traitor to conservative beliefs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is a betrayal of everything that Ted Olson
has purported to stand for.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: I don`t know what happened to Ted Olson. I
have no clue. Ted Olson used to be one of us.
REPORTER: What do you feel, so many of your fellow conservatives are on
the other side of this issue?
OLSON: Because I haven`t had a chance to talk with them all yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining me right now are attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson.
Congratulations, gentlemen. You`re my heroes and I think you`re heroes to
Why did you take on an issue which most people think is a liberal issue?
OLSON: I grew up in California. I was stunned by what Californians did to
their own citizens. It seemed inconsistent with the Frontier State, and
all the diversity that exists in California and the tolerance that
Californians have for persons of different views or persons of different
races seemed to me wrong. When I was asked to do it, I thought there was
something I could do about it.
MATTHEWS: The old line from Mr. Dooley was the Supreme Court follows the
election returns. Was the changing public opinion, which has gone from 27
percent for same-sex back in `96, to 55 percent today, actual doubling of
support for same-sex marriage had something to do with how the courts
BOIES: I think it`s part of the atmosphere the courts operate in. I don`t
think the courts sort of follow the election polls. But I think what the
courts do is they do consider the whole context when an issue comes in
front of it, both in terms of how they decide. But even more important
when they decide.
MATTHEWS: I think the idea of marriage is such an interesting idea because
marriage is part of our culture. Marriage is probably -- could
primordial for all we know. We mate and may mate for life. Who knows what
the anthropology is?
But gay marriage is something that was new to a lot of people, the very
idea of it. What do you think broke through?
OLSON: What broke through is --
MATTHEWS: People saying -- because for a while the portrait of the gay
community was bars, bathhouses, parades -- you know, gay pride parades
that didn`t make the case. Then it began to be couples. We began to see
men and men, two men, or two women, and saw them happy together in a
familiar coupling together that seemed like straight marriage and people
said, you know, what`s wrong with that?
OLSON: It`s very much like straight marriage. It is like straight
marriage. It`s the same thing. We say there`s a conservative case for gay
marriage. People coming together to form an enduring relationship, to be a
part of a community, to be a part of our economy. The plaintiffs in our
case had been together for 10, 15, 16 years.
MATTHEWS: Two women and two men.
OLSON: Two women and two men. They`d been together for a long time. And
when people see those relationships and when people see the joy of the two
people finally being able to get together and being respected and being a
part of the community like the rest of us, the rest of us look at that and
say, gee, that`s right. That`s the way it ought to be. We should be for
happiness and for love, and for marriage.
MATTHEWS: It seems like the gay community, if you can generalize it, has
been so supportive of this legal effort that they have really -- I don`t
know how to describe it, but way -- maybe it`s the natural way that
people look. But every time I see them coming out of church steps or
coming out of city hall, it`s a happy positive thing. How can you have a
problem with it? What was the argument against gay marriage?
I remember in California in your case, they tried to find somebody who had
standing that could say this is hurting straight marriage.
MATTHEWS: What was that argument?
BOIES: Well, what they tried to do is tried to say somehow this may have
damage to straight marriage, because they had to find something wrong.
MATTHEWS: What was their molecule of thought there?
BOIES: They didn`t have any. In fact, their lawyer asked, you say there`s
harm to straight marriage, what`s the harm to straight marriage? What is
that harm? And he danced around it, danced around it. The judge got cross
and to come on and answer the question. And he paused and he said I don`t
know, and that was the answer --
MATTHEWS: But the argument they`d make on the right is it`s cosmic.
People -- it`s also, the individual is conservative guy probably, not a
woman, going to bed at night saying, God, there`s gays getting married.
It`s really bothering -- I can`t sleep tonight.
BOIES: But they`re not going to get divorced over that.
BOIES: I mean, how many people do you know who have a happy marriage who
are going to get divorced because their gay neighbor can get married? It`s
not going to happen.
MATTHEWS: So, nobody got divorced over this issue?
BOIES: Not over this issue.
OLSON: Everywhere it`s happened has been good for marriage. You know,
marriage improves because we have a relationship like that where we respect
people and we respect --
MATTHEWS: I`m a big believer in books. "Redeeming the Dream" is the name
of your book and if people who are gay or straight, who care about this
country, I`ve always said, we expand our key democracy every couple years
and this is one of the expansions. You know, we`re making this country
Thank you. Congratulations. You, especially. I could expect it of him.
David Boies and Ted Olson -- actually, Ted Olson is a very good guy.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with Rachel Maddow`s powerful column in
today`s "Washington Post." She has hit the nail right on the head.
Why on God`s Earth can the United States Congress get away without voting
on a new Iraqi war effort? How can it advocate its constitutional
responsibility to decide on matters of peace and war? Is this complicated?
Is it? Is it hard to figure out why the Democrats and the Republicans
elected to represent us on the crucial issues refuse to do so?
I get it. And you get it. Again, it`s not complicated. These people
don`t want to take the political responsibility to either send our forces
into Iraq, once more, or take responsibility for not doing it.
I get it. They`re afraid to be wrong. They`re afraid, and -- yes, this
is an insult -- to be unpopular. They`re afraid to have someone in their
constituency or state offended by their vote.
So, what do they do? They refuse to vote. They want to leave it up to the
president what to do with the vast U.S. arsenal.
But is it an arsenal if the leaders of Congress refuse to even vote on the
matter? Why is it important who controls the United States Senate if the
United States Senate refuses to vote on something as important as war or
peace? Who cares which party controls the Senate if the Senate is going to
advocate its duty to the Constitution and to the American people?
I`m with Rachel on this right down the line. The media bookers fill their
shows with the clowns who got us into the Iraq mess, while the people we
elected to sit and vote for us are sitting on their hands and hope no one
will call on them to say what they think we should do. Collectively,
they`re like the kid in class who didn`t do his homework and is hoping the
teacher won`t see them hiding behind the kid in front of them and ask them
to stand and give the answer. Is it too much to ask for a return to glory
when we had people in the Senate, like Senator J. William Fulbright, who
believed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is there for the most
important reason in the world, to stand up to the president or stand with
him, that running and hiding isn`t an option?
On this grotesque abdication of responsibility, I am embarrassed by a
Congress I`ve grown up to respect, almost to the point of reverence.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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